XP Service Pack 2 and Wireless Bluetooth

Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2 is here.  If you've not see it yet, take a trip over to for info on it.

Note:  These downloads are huge - 200+Mb for the network install, 400+Mb for the CD ISO and a variable, but nonetheless still huge, download for Automatic Updates or Windows Update users.

There are plenty of reasons why you should install this if you are an XP Home or Pro user but, as with most things, you need to make sure that you do things right.  One think I have notices while reading articles related to SP 2 is that there are steps you need to take to make sure that Bluetooth continues to work after the upgrade (especially synching your Pocket PC device using Bluetooth).  This is because Microsoft has introduced its own, brand new Bluetooth driver stack with SP 2.  This should work with most devices that currently support Widcomm but there may be exceptions and a list of certified products appear here.  It is worth noting that any drivers that you get with hardware will likely have greater functionality than the stack offered by Microsoft.

For trouble-free installation, here are the steps you should take:

Step 1

Before installing the service pack, go into Control Panel and click “Add/Remove Programs” and look for software related to your Bluetooth adapter.  You'll need to uninstall any drivers.

Find it this software and uninstall it by clicking the remove button.  You may need to reboot your computer to complete the uninstallation.  If you are having trouble finding anything with a manufacturer name, try looking for WIDCOMM software - WIDCOMM provide the software for many of the manufacturers.

Step 2

Install XP SP 2 and carry out the required reboot.

Step 3

Once your system has rebooted, make your way to the Control Panel and there you will find a new applet called Bluetooth.  Open the applet and click on the Options tab and put a tick in the “Show the Bluetooth icon in the notification area” checkbox.

Step 4

Pair up your PC and your Pocket PC.

From within the Bluetooth Devices applet, in the Devices tab, click the add button. You can also right click on the system tray icon choose “Add a Bluetooth Device”. Doing this will start the “Add Bluetooth Device Wizard”. When you are ready, check the “My device is set up and ready to be found” check box and click the next button. The wizard will search for discoverable Bluetooth devices and after a brief wait, your device should appear in the list of devices discovered. Click on the device and click next.

You will be asked if you want to add a passkey to your device. The passkey is like a password that is used to pair your devices. I recommended that you select “Let me choose my own passkey” and make something up yourself rather than accept a passkey generated by the operating system. It is not particularly important what passkey you use (but remember that some devices, such as Bluetooth headsets, might have a passkey hard coded in it), and you don't need to remember it once this process is complete. Once you have entered your passkey, click next to continue.

Your computer will attempt to pair with the device. At this stage you will be prompted to enter your passkey on your device, once the pairing has been done, click finish to exit the wizard.

Step 5

Nearly finished! The last thing to do is go through the process of setting up a Bluetooth ActiveSync connection on your mobile device. 

In the Bluetooth Devices applet on your computer, click on the COM Ports tab and add a COM Port if there isn't an Incoming port already defined. Make sure the COM Port is an incoming port. make a note of the port assignment.

Next open ActiveSync, click File then Connection Settings and check the checkbox that says “Allow serial cable or infrared connection to this COM port:” and select the COM port that the Bluetooth Devices applet assigned to your COM port. 

Finally, open the Bluetooth manager on your mobile device and configure a new ActiveSync partner with your computer. This varies between Pocket PC versions but usually involves going into Bluetooth manager, click New, then select “ActiveSync via Bluetooth”, click next, next, select the paired computer, click next. Check the checkbox to enable an encrypted connection and click finish. 

You're done!

Hang on!  I made a mess and installed SP 2 before uninstalling old drivers!

There is still hope!  First thing you need to do is carry out step 1 and uninstall any Bluetooth related drivers from your system.

Once you've removed your software, right click on my computer and choose manage. In the Computer Management screen, select Device Manager then scroll down the right hand pane until you get to the “Universal Serial Bus Controller” and expand it by clicking the plus symbol. Look for a Bluetooth device in this list and if one exists, right click on the device and choose “Uninstall”. This will remove the drivers for the device. 

Next remove the device and plug the device back in which should result in a prompt to install drivers. Connect to the internet and allow the computer to connect to Windows Update to search for drivers where Windows should be able to detect and download a Bluetooth driver for your device and install it on your computer.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
Last updated: Aug 24th 2004
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